soccer

Loyal SC Adds Scoring Punch With Former Toreros All-American

Miguel Berry returns to play for hometown team

USD Athletics

The San Diego Loyal SC has played nine matches in its inaugural season and only allowed 11 goals, which is really good. However, they've only scored seven goals, which is really not good.

So the Loyal went out and got someone who knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.

Miguel Berry is coming home. The University of San Diego All-American joins the Loyal on a loan from the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer. Berry was the seventh overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft after scoring nearly a goal a match as a senior.

The Loyal are hoping Berry brings that goal-scoring potential to the USL Championship.

"I had the opportunity to watch Miguel play in person last year at USD, and it was evident that he was ready to play at the next level,” said Loyal SC manager Landon Donovan. “He has all the tools to be a top-level striker in this country, and we are fortunate to have another San Diegan join us as we push toward the playoffs."

Berry certainly knows his new-old home. The Loyal play their home matches at USD.

"It's nice to be coming back," Berry said. "It's almost like a little reset button. It's almost surreal. My friends joked with me about coming back and playing at Torero Stadium, and it's actually coming true now, so it's extremely exciting."

Berry did not appear in a match for Columbus. The Crew wanted to get one of their top rookies some playing time, so they agreed to let him join the Loyal, with the caveat that he can be recalled at any moment. Miguel is not going to let that possibility be a distraction.

"You can't have your mind in two places at once and one helps the other," Berry said. "If I'm here. and I'm focused and give everything I can, at the end of the day [returning to Columbus] is out of my control. So I'm here to play for the Loyal and win as many games as possible. The more games I play here, the better."

Berry comes to town already familiar with his new club -- and not just because it's his hometown team. Loyal goalie Jon Kempin is also on loan from the Crew and was Miguel's roommate for a time in Columbus, so Berry has seen all of San Diego's matches and thinks there's plenty to be excited about.

"I think we're just a little bit off of really achieving what we can," Berry said. "Landon's had faith in me. He said, 'We need you to score goals. That's the reason we brought you in,' so that's, hopefully, what I'm here to do."

One of the things Berry is looking forward to is wearing the Loyal's Black Lives Matter uniforms. Berry was born in Barcelona and raised in Poway. He plays a sport that is truly international, with teammates from the United States, Africa, Mexico and Europe.

At the age of 22, Berry sees a chance for his generation to enact real and long overdue change in the world.

"With the power of social media and everything that's changed, I think we've entered into an age where younger people have a much bigger voice than they did, say, 40 or 50 years ago, and I think we're seeing that now," Berry said. "What can't be missed on this is, we can say young people or Millennials or Gen Z, but at the end of the day, we're all still the same human race. We can't just focus on young people enacting change, because we need everyone for it, anyone who wants to join and people who want to listen, because at the end of the day it's listening --not listening to what I have to say, it's listening to what other people have to say. Being part of the conversation is the most important thing, and it's great to see people of all walks of life join in and do what they can to help people who need help."

I know the goal is to play in the MLS, but I'm hoping this guy stays in San Diego as long as possible.

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